It matters to the corporate media in rich countries that Venezuela’s economic performance under Chavez be trashed as much as possible. The Japan based blogger, Francisco Toro, who has written relentlessly in English about Venezuela, has been rewarded by the corporate media in the US and UK with easy access to large audiences for his attacks on the Chavez government.
The US media is busily trying to scam US readers into accepting cuts to Medicare and Social Security so as not to fall off a “fiscal cliff”. In a very recent TNR article, Toro also hypes the imagined perils of discarding neoliberal lunacy. Toro wrote
“… some forecasters estimate Venezuela’s 2013 budget deficit will reach an insane 19.5 percent of GDP (consider that Greece’s deficit topped out at 15.4 percent of GDP in 2009).”
In fact, the “forecasters” Toro cites are saying – insanely – that Venezuela’s fiscal deficit will hit 20% of GDP by the end of this year which has just about arrived. The Guardian, CNN and Washington Post have also run articles claiming Venezuela’s fiscal deficit is presently 16-20% of GDP.
However, the IMF, which is hardly run by Chavistas, said as recently as October that Venezuela’s fiscal deficit would be about 7.4% of GDP by the end of this year. Without checking the IMF projections, any competent and diligent reporter should have seen that the 16-20% numbers were extremely suspect. Venezuela’s budget deficit for 2011 was 5% of GDP. Venezuela’s economy grew in 2012 and oil prices didn’t plummet, so it would have taken a jump in government spending relative to GDP in one year that is totally unprecedented in the Chavez era to drive the deficit up that high.
Additionally, the absurdity of Toro’s comparison of Venezuela to Greece is nicely illustrated by the data for the country from which Toro now blogs.
As of 2011, Japan’s fiscal deficit was 9.7% of GDP. Its gross debt to GDP ratio was 211%. The numbers for Greece are 9.4% and 170% respectively. Based on Toro’s facile analysis, we’d have to ridiculously conclude that Japan is in worse shape than Greece. Clearly, debts (and deficits) relative to GDP do not tell us if a government’s fiscal policy is sustainable.
For a competent analysis of the sustainability of the Chavez government policies see this study by Mark Weisbrot and Jake Johnson. Weisbrot also took the WAPO editorial board to task in this blog post for citing a bogus figure for Venezuela’s fiscal deficit and for other foolishness.
The correct path to statehood is through implementation of international law and UN resolutions and the approval of the international community.
By Stuart Littlewood | Salem-News | December 14, 2012
(LONDON) – Britain’s prime minister David Cameron has again shown why he should stand down from British politics.
In a speech to Conservative Friends of Israel at a lunch the other day he said – and not for the first time – things that are deeply disturbing to people who expect him to put British interests first. He again compromised himself and this country with ridiculous pledges of support for a foreign military power whose behaviour is beyond the Pale and an affront to human decency. Here are some of his remarks…
“I am a passionate friend of Israel – and that’s the way it’s going to stay.”
In that case you shouldn’t be in British politics, Mr Cameron. You have fallen foul of the Seven Principles of Public Life, especially the principle of ‘Integrity’ which says quite simply: “Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.”
“We promised to stand up for Israel and in Government that’s exactly what we’ve done. We said it was ridiculous that Israeli officials felt unable to visit Britain because of the malicious and unfounded use of arrest warrants so we changed the law to end it.”
Unfounded? Tzipi Livni, for example, was responsible for launching the pre-meditated blitzkrieg four years ago which caused the deaths of 1,400 defenceless Gazans (including 320 children and 109 women), horribly maimed thousands more and caused immense devastation to essential infrastructure and services. She showed no remorse. Livni’s office issued a statement saying she was proud of Operation Cast Lead, and speaking later at a conference at Tel Aviv’s Institute for Security Studies, she said: “I would today take the same decisions.”
“We said we’d resist calls for boycotts on Israel and yes – we are going to keep on working with Israel, doing business with Israel, trading with Israel.”
Even though Israel is in continual breach of EU-Israel Agreement rules and forcibly prevents its neighbours, the Palestinians, from doing business and trade with the outside world…
“To me it is clear what needs to happen… We need the Palestinians to understand there is only one path to statehood, and that is through negotiations with Israel. We made that clear with that UN vote a couple of weeks ago.”
Wrong. The correct path to statehood is through implementation of international law and UN resolutions and the approval of the international community. Only when the illegal occupation is ended and the right of self-determination is restored can meaningful talks begin.
“We said that Britain could not support a resolution that set back the prospects for peace and that did not commit the Palestinians to return to negotiations without preconditions. Well: they did not provide the assurances that we asked for. So… we did not vote for it.”
Pure blackmail. Bullying Palestinians into resuming failed and discredited talks to bargain with the thief for the return of their lands and property when it is still being stolen with impunity, is utterly immoral. There can be no peace under occupation. And nobody ‘negotiates’ with a gun to their head, nor should they be expected to.
“And I have made something else clear that needs to be made clear to the Palestinians. Britain will never tolerate the obscenity of a football tournament named after a suicide bomber who killed 20 Israelis in a restaurant. We will not tolerate incitement to terrorism.”
This is about Wafa Idris. It has become a favourite rant and Cameron was banging on about it a couple of months earlier at another top Jewish gathering. According to The Jerusalem Post (September 2011) a Fatah-affiliated youth centre in the Ama’ari refugee camp near Ramallah named a sports event after female suicide bomber Wafa Idris, a 28 year-old paramedic who had been shot several times by Israeli rubber bullets during her work for the Red Crescent. Relatives said she was angry at seeing children shot and killed by the IDF in Ramallah. Idris was the first Palestinian woman to carry out a suicide bombing. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a subsidiary of Abbas’s Fatah (who are Cameron’s friends in Occupied Palestine), claimed responsibility for the bomb attack although her family said she was not known to be an activist with any Palestinian militant group.
Cameron, before opening his mouth, might have asked what led her to do it. Wafa Idris was born in the Ama’ari refugee camp. Set up by the Red Cross in 1949 it provided tents to refugees from Jaffa, Ramla and Lydda, towns allocated for an Arab state in the UN Partition but subjected to a bloody programme of ethnic cleansing in 1948.
In Lydda the Israelis massacred 426 men, women, and children. 176 of them were slaughtered in the town’s main mosque (See the lurid details here). Out of the 19,000 people who called Lydda home, only 1,052 were allowed to stay. The remainder were forced to walk into exile in the scalding July heat leaving a trail of bodies – men, women and children – along the way.
The slaughter in Lydda was led by a certain Moshe Dayan. The event was witnessed by two American newspapermen who reported that “practically everything in their way died. Riddled corpses lay by the roadside.” They saw “the corpses of Arab men, women and even children strewn about in the wake of the ruthlessly brilliant charge” (emphasis Aletho News ). This appalling war crime didn’t prevent Dayan becoming a great hero in Israel, and later defence minister and foreign minister.
Today Tel Aviv University has a Moshe Dayan Centre named after the war criminal, but I haven’t heard Cameron complain about that. Likewise the Menachem Begin Centre in West Jerusalem is named after the terrorist leader responsible for the bomb attack in 1946 on the British mandate government based in the King David Hotel, killing 91. Has Agent Cameron anything to say about that?
Back to the Ama’ari refugee camp, now run by the UNRWA, where Wafa Idris was obliged to live in squalor as a result of Israel’s criminal land-grab and forcible eviction of her parents from Ramla. At Ama’ari 10,500 people are squeezed into less than 1 square kilometre in dreadful conditions.
However the camp’s football team has won the Palestine football championship several times and qualified to represent Palestine in regional and international competitions.
The Arab media were lavish in their praise for Idris, the “courageous Palestinian girl”, and as a result she became a heroic symbol of Palestinian womanhood in their struggle to throw off the occupation. If it’s OK for Israel to name major institutions after its famous terrorists what right has Cameron to get upset when Palestinian football team similarly commemorates one of theirs?
“So, in Gaza too, Hamas need to know that they must renounce violence and they will not be allowed to dictate the way forward in the peace process.”
Does Cameron have the balls to tell Israel it too must renounce violence? Hamas, in case he has forgotten, is the legitimate democratic authority. He may not like it but he should respect it and work with them, like the good democratic he claims to be.
“Last month, when rockets rained down on Israel, we were unequivocal about the right of Israelis to live free from attack by terrorist groups on their border.”
When Gaza suffers air strikes on a daily basis, how unequivocal is Cameron about the right of Palestinians to live free from attack by the terrorist state occupying their lands?
“I’ve never had to run for cover as the air-raids sound overhead. I’ve never had to give gas masks to my children. I do understand that for the Israeli people, uncertainty isn’t such a great thing. It means instability. Anxiety. Fear.”
If he goes to Gaza he can experience fear and anxiety in abundance under Israeli air raids. I vividly remember as a kid being bombed by the Nazis every night in London – and not with garden-shed whizz-bangs. I remember German bombers flying at rooftop height down our street to avoid the anti-aircraft guns. At least they didn’t use white phosphorus like the Israelis.
Cameron’s hyper-partisan, head-over-heels friendship – no, obsession – with Israel is allowed to steer nearly every aspect of Britain’s foreign policy. What drives this? You need look no further than The Jewish Chronicle which in 2006 reported on the backers bankrolling David Cameron’s bid for power and provided a fascinating insight into how the pro-Israel lobby infiltrates government and destroys the principles of integrity and accountability so vital to public life.
When Cameron became Conservative leader he proclaimed:
“The belief I have in Israel is indestructible – and you need to know that if I become Prime Minister, Israel has a friend who will never turn his back on Israel.”
Agent Cameron is very careful not to let the words ‘justice’ and ‘law’ pass his lips in connection with Israel’s illegal occupation of the Holy Land. And he and his foreign secretary, Hague, will put on a wonderful show of hand-wringing, deploring and urging whenever Israel commits atrocities, but they never condemn the racist regime or use any obvious levers like suspension of trade or other sanctions.
On the contrary, they shamelessly find ways of rewarding the Israeli regime’s crimes against humanity, making us complicit with its racist ambitions.
© Stuart Littlewood 2012
- A letter to David Cameron (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- The cowardice at the heart of our relationship with Israel (telegraph.co.uk)
Most Americans would prefer to forget that we are approaching the first anniversary of the expulsion of U.S. military forces from Iraq. The Republican Party, which rallied behind George W. Bush to invade the country and occupy it, has suffered from a short memory relating to that misbegotten war even as it agitates for new and similar military interventions.
Much of the silence on the subject is certainly due to the fact that most Democrats and nearly all the media were also on board, though perhaps for reasons that did not completely coincide with the Bush neocons’ imperial vision. And after the war began and the occupation took on its misbegotten form under Jerry Bremer, Dan Senor, and a host of neocon acolytes brought on board to reshape the country, the saga ran on and on. As Iraq broke down into its constituent parts due to Bremer’s inept proconsulship, a development that might normally lead to a rethink of the entire project, Pentagon-based neoconservatives instead regrouped, doubled down and contrived the 2007 “surge” to fix things. That the surge was a poorly conceived and executed military dead end and a complete failure to do anything but deepen the divisions within Iraq seemed irrelevant, political partisanship inevitably rushing in to interpret it as a success to provide cover for the foolish politicians, generals and bureaucrats in Washington who had conceived it. As recently as the Republican presidential debates earlier this year the “surge” in Iraq was cited by several candidates as a litmus test for those who believe in the “right kind” of foreign policy. Those who did not believe in the myth of the surge as a subset of American Exceptionalism were outside the pale, most notably Representative Ron Paul.
Iraq, correctly labeled the “worst mistake in American history,” has to be remembered because of what it should have taught about Washington’s false perception of the U.S. vis-a-vis the rest of the world. One of America’s poorest secretaries of state of all time, Madeleine Albright, once said that the U.S. is the only “necessary nation” because it “sees far.” She could have added that it sees far though it frequently doesn’t understand what it is seeing, but that would have required some introspection on her part. Albright’s ignorance and hubris have unfortunately been embraced and even expanded upon by her equally clueless successors and the presidencies that they represented. Iraq should be an antidote to such thinking, a prime lesson in what is wrong with the United States when its blunders its way overseas as the self-proclaimed arbiter of the destinies of billions of people.
Everyone but the “realist” and largely traditional conservative and libertarian minority that opposed the Iraq venture from day one has turned out to be dead wrong about the war and many continued to be wrong even when the U.S. military was eventually forced to leave the country by the Baghdad government. The Iraq war was born from a series of lies.
The United States invaded Iraq in 2003 based on two alleged threats as defined by the Bush administration and Congress. First, it was claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and also delivery systems that would enable it to strike directly against the United States. Second, it was frequently argued that Iraq had somehow been involved in 9/11 through its intelligence services. Both contentions were completely false, were known by many in the White House to be fraudulent, and, in some cases, were bolstered by evidence that was itself fabricated or known to be incorrect. Many in the Pentagon and CIA knew that the case being made for war was essentially bogus and was being contrived to satisfy United Nations requirements for armed intervention. Though there were a couple of principled resignations from the State Department, almost everyone in the bureaucracy went along with the fraud.
Digging deeper there were other uncited reasons for going to war and some led back to Israel and its lobby. All of the most passionate cheerleaders for war were also passionate about protecting Israel. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein had been paying money to the families of Palestinians killed by Israel and there was a perception that he was a potential military threat. When the U.S. took over control in Baghdad one of the first projects to be considered was a pipeline to move Iraqi oil to the Israeli port of Haifa.
Fast forward eight years, to the end of the U.S. military presence. The neocons continued to see a strategic objective in the shambles that they had made. In an op-ed in the Washington Post on the impending U.S. departure from Iraq one year ago, neocons Kimberly and Fred Kagan delusionally entertained five “American core interests” in the region. They were: that Iraq should continue to be one unified state; that there should be no al-Qaeda on its soil; that Baghdad abides by its international responsibilities; that Iraq should contain Iran; and that the al-Maliki government should accept U.S. “commitment” to the region. As the Kagans are first and foremost apologists for Israel, it should be observed that Iraq’s “international responsibilities” would be understood as referring to the expectation that Baghdad not be hostile to Tel Aviv.
But looking back a bit, in 2003 Iraq was a good deal more unified and stable than it is today; there was no al-Qaeda or other terrorist presence; Saddam generally abided by a sanctions regime imposed by the U.N.; and Iraq was the principal Arab front line state restraining Iran’s ambitions. Then, as now, the U.S. was clearly “committed” to the region through the overwhelming presence of its armed forces and one should add parenthetically that Iraq in no way threatened the United States, or anyone else. It was precisely the U.S. invasion that dismantled the Iraqi nation state, introduced al-Qaeda to the country, wrecked the nation’s economy, and brought into power a group of Shi’a leaders who are anti-democratic and adhere much closer to Tehran and Syria than to Washington. Nor are they very friendly to Israel, quite the contrary, and there is no oil pipeline. So none of the “core interests” sought by the United States as defined by neocon doctrine have actually been achieved, or, rather, they have actually been reversed due to the invasion and occupation by the United States arranged and carried out by the Pentagon neoconservatives.
And then there is the cost. The U.S. lost nearly 5,000 soldiers killed plus 35,000 more wounded while the documented Iraqi dead number more than 110,000, though the actual total is almost certainly much, much higher, perhaps exceeding one million. Ancient Christian communities in Iraq have all but disappeared. Columbia economist Joseph Stiglitz has estimated that the total cost of the war will be in the $5 trillion plus range when all the bills are finally paid. The U.S. economy has suffered grave and possibly fatal damage as a result of a war that need not have taken place.
The lesson to be learned from Iraq is actually quite simple. Military intervention in a foreign land unless a genuine vital interest is at stake is a fool’s errand due to the unforeseen consequences that develop from any war. And when intervention is actually necessary (hard to imagine what those circumstances would be) it must have an exit strategy that starts almost immediately. Remembering the government chicanery that led to the events of 2003 through 2011 means that the lies that are currently being floated to justify regime change in both Syria and Iran by the same neocons who produced the Iraq debacle should be treated with extreme skepticism and summarily rejected. Iraq also provides the insights that enable one to judge the Afghanistan enterprise for what it really is: a failure now just as it will be five years from now at far greater cost in lives and treasure for Afghans and Americans alike. If the United States cannot learn from the experience of Iraq it is doomed to repeatedly fail in similar endeavors until the last soldier comes home in a body bag and the last dollar is spent, leaving behind an empty treasury and an impoverished American people.
Philip Giraldi is the executive director of the Council for the National Interest and a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues.
Few aspects of Canadian foreign policy have been mentioned more times over the past two weeks than Ottawa’s 300 million dollar five year aid program to the Palestinians.
Ever since the Globe and Mail reported on November 26 that Prime Minister Stephen Harper threatened Mahmoud Abbas that “there will be consequences” if he followed through on his plan to ask the UN General Assembly to upgrade Palestine’s status there has been a great deal of speculation about whether Canadian “aid” would be cut off. A quick Google search brings up hundreds of articles mentioning the 300 million dollars in funding yet none of them mention the highly politicized character of this “aid”.
After Hamas won legislative elections in January 2006 the Conservatives made Canada the first country (after Israel) to cut off funding to the Palestinian Authority. When Hamas officials were ousted from the Palestinian unity government in June 2007, the Conservatives immediately contributed $8 million “in direct support to the new government.” Then in December 2007 the Conservatives announced a five-year $300 million aid program to the Palestinians, which was largely designed to serve Israel’s interests.
A Saint John Telegraph-Journal headline explained: “Canada’s aid to Palestine benefits Israel, foreign affairs minister says.” In January 2008 foreign minister Maxime Bernier said: “We are doing that [providing aid to the PA] because we want Israel to be able to live in peace and security with its neighbours.”
Most of the Canadian aid money has gone to building up a Palestinian security force overseen by a US general. The immediate impetus of the Canadian aid was to create a Palestinian security force “to ensure that the PA maintains control of the West Bank against Hamas,” as Canadian Ambassador to Israel Jon Allen was quoted as saying by the Canadian Jewish News. American General Keith Dayton, in charge of organizing a 10,000-member Palestinian security force, even admitted that he was strengthening Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah against Hamas, telling a US audience in May 2009 his force was “working against illegal Hamas activities.” According to Al Jazeera, between 2007 and early 2011 PA security forces arrested some 10,000 suspected Hamas supporters in the West Bank.
The broader aim of the US-Canada-Britain initiated Palestinian security reform was to build a force to patrol Israel’s occupied territories. In a 2011 profile of Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel Ron Allison, “Dayton’s chief of liaison in the West Bank” for a year, his hometown newspaper reported: “The Dayton team was concerned with enhancing security on the West Bank of Palestine and was all geared towards looking after and ensuring the security of Israel, said Ron.”
“We don’t provide anything to the Palestinians,” noted Dayton, “unless it has been thoroughly coordinated with the state of Israel and they agree to it.” For instance, Israel’s internal intelligence agency, the Shin-Bet, vets all of the Palestinian recruits.
The Israelis supported Dayton’s force as a way to keep the West Bank population under control. Like all colonial authorities throughout history Israel looked to compliant locals to take up the occupation’s security burden. In a December 2011 article titled “[Ehud] Barak admires PA security forces for protecting [Israeli] settlers [in the West Bank]” a Palestinian news agency described an interview the Israeli defence minister gave to a Hebrew radio station.
Writing in a July 2011 issue of the London Review of Books Adam Shatz explained: “The PA already uses the American-trained National Security Force to undermine efforts by Palestinians to challenge the occupation. (Hamas, in Gaza, has cracked down on protest even more harshly.) ‘They are the police of the occupation,’ Myassar Atyani, a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, told me. ‘Their leadership is not Palestinian, it is Israeli.’ On 15 May – the day Palestinians commemorate their Nakba [the 1948 destruction of Palestinian society] – more than a thousand Palestinians, mainly young men, marched to the Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem and clashed with Israeli soldiers; but when Atyani tried to lead a group of demonstrators to the Hawara checkpoint outside Nablus, PA security forces stopped them. The road from Ramallah to Qalandia is in Area C, which is not controlled by the PA; the road from Nablus to Hawara is in Area A, which is. And protesters who have attempted to march to settlements along PA-controlled roads have also found themselves turned back. It is an extraordinary arrangement: the security forces of a country under occupation are being subcontracted by third parties outside the region to prevent resistance to the occupying power, even as that power continues to grab more land. This is, not surprisingly, a source of considerable anger and shame in the West Bank.”
The Palestinian security force is largely trained in Jordan at the US- built International Police Training Center (created to train Iraqi security after the 2003 invasion). In October 2009 the Wall Street Journal reported: “[Palestinian] recruits are trained in Jordan by Jordanian police, under the supervision of American, Canadian, and British officers.” The number of military trainers in the West Bank varied slightly but in mid-2010 18 Canadian troops worked with six British and ten US soldiers under Dayton’s command. “The Canadian contribution is invaluable,” explained Dayton. Canadians are particularly useful because “US personnel have travel restrictions when operating in the West Bank. But, our British and Canadian members do not.” Calling them his “eyes and ears” Dayton said: “The Canadians … are organized in teams we call road warriors, and they move around the West Bank daily visiting Palestinian security leaders, gauging local conditions.”
Part of the US Security Coordinator office in Jerusalem, the Canadian military mission in the West Bank (dubbed Operation PROTEUS) includes RCMP officers as well as officials from Foreign Affairs, Justice Canada and the Canadian Border Services Agency. In a September 2010 interview with the Jerusalem Post then deputy foreign minister Peter Kent said Operation PROTEUS was Canada’s “second largest deployment after Afghanistan” and it receives “most of the money” from the five-year $300 million Canadian “aid” program to the Palestinians. During a visit to Israel in February, foreign minister John Baird told the Globe and Mail he was “incredibly thrilled” by the West Bank security situation, which he said benefited Israel.
In effect, Canada has helped to build a security apparatus to protect a corrupt PA led by Mahmoud Abbas, whose electoral mandate expired in January 2009, but whom the Israeli government prefers over Hamas.
Don’t expect the Conservative government to sever this “aid”.
GAZA CITY – A young Palestinian man was shot and injured Friday evening by Israeli soldiers east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, medical officials said.
Gaza paramedics told Ma’an they evacuated a 19-year-old to Al-Awda Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip after he was hit by two live bullets in his feet near Abu Safiyya Hill east of Jabaliya.
They added that Israeli troops fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at Palestinians near the border area. One man suffered from tear-gas inhalation, they said.
An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma’an that “IDF forces acted within the rules of engagement” but said she was unable to elaborate about why the soldiers opened fire.
Israeli troops have fired several times across the border since a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas went into effect in November.
The latest incident was Monday, when military vehicles crossed several hundred meters past the border near Khan Younis, but there were no reports of injury.
Israel has imposed a no-go zone on the borders, but agreed to stop targeting Palestinians in the area as part of the ceasefire, Gaza’s government has said.
When a Palestinian was killed in the zone by Israeli forces a few days after the ceasefire, Hamas security forces deployed in the area to make sure Palestinians didn’t approach the border fence.
- Gaza man dies after being shot by Israeli troops in Rafah (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli tanks enter Gaza and breach ceasefire again (bikyamasr.com)
BETHLEHEM – After Reuters cameramen were assaulted by Israeli forces in Hebron this week, a second group of journalists were beaten by troops in the West Bank city, a press freedom group said Saturday.
On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers punched two Reuters journalists and forced them to strip in the street, before letting off a tear gas canister in front of them, leaving one of them needing hospital treatment.
A freelance reporter and Al-Quds TV correspondent were also beaten during the incident in Hebron, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms, MADA, said.
The journalists were covering the aftermath of the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Muhammad Salaymeh by an Israeli border guard in the city.
A day later, four journalists went to cover the ensuing clashes, and were blocked and threatened by an Israeli force near Hebron’s Tareq ben Zaid school, MADA said.
Associated Press photographer Hazem Bader was detained for 45 minutes by Israeli soldiers, the journalists told MADA.
“They tied my hands behind my back, beat me on my feet and my back, and cursing me all the time,” Bader said.
“One of the soldiers tried to fabricate a charge against me that I tried to assault him, but my colleagues of photographers documented the arrest.”
He was freed when a press office intervened, he said.
MADA condemned the “escalation of violations” against journalists in Hebron this week.
- Israeli forces kill teenager on his 17th birthday in Hebron (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Family denies Hebron teen killed by Israel was carrying toy gun (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Reuters accuses Israeli soldiers of assaulting cameramen in Hebron (guardian.co.uk)
A new survey shows more than a third of Israelis want to immigrate to other countries due to economic problems and spiraling cost of living in the occupied territories.
Citing economic opportunities as the main reason, the poll conducted by Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that “almost 40 percent of Israelis are thinking of emigrating” to other states.
The survey came as the ailing economy of the Israeli regime has taken its toll on politics.
On October 15, Israeli parliamentarians voted to dissolve the Knesset and hold snap elections on January 2013 after the gridlock among different coalition partners over the passage of the 2013 austerity budget.
In recent months, Israelis have held protests against a package of sweeping austerity cuts, which the regime of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says were necessary to reduce the budget deficit and protect the economy.
Netanyahu has formed committees to address the demands of the anti-austerity protesters, but the demonstrators say no single concrete step has been taken.
Netanyahu has also ruled out the idea of spending from outside the budget for economic reforms, a response that Israeli protesters say disillusioned them.
In October, a survey conducted by the Israeli humanitarian aid organization indicated that some 75 percent of Israelis fear that their economy may collapse, which shows a huge increase in the figure compared with that of 2010.
The poll also showed that 78 percent of those surveyed said the Tel Aviv regime has no plans for fighting poverty and bridging the widening social gap.
NAZARETH — Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman declared his intention to resign from his post on Friday after being charged with fraud and breach of trust, in a move that could have profound implications for the next general election.
Lieberman’s declared resignation came after Israel’s attorney general issued a legal indictment against him in this regard.
On his facebook page, Lieberman, who leads the extremist Yisrael Beiteinu party, claimed he stepped down, although he was sure he had committed no crime.
The indictment he will face stems from an investigation into other offences he has committed. He is accused of promoting Israel’s former ambassador to Belarus for another post after the ambassador gave him confidential information regarding an Israeli police investigation into Lieberman’s activities.
Lieberman said on his page that he had been hounded by corruption accusations since July 1996.
He was already accused of financial corruption and money laundering, but the attorney general had to drop those charges against him for insufficient evidence.